3D Printing Revolutionizes Education for Persons with Disabilities
3D printers are revolutionizing education for the blind and visually impaired. We’ve compiled a list of some of some of these projects.
For the Denvar School for the Blind in India, think3D built 3D printed diagrams of diagrams in science textbooks. One model, for example, shows how light passes through a lens.
Similarly, Halla Sigridur Margretardottir Haugen, an Icelandic graphic designer, illustrator, and event planner noticed that there were few tactile teaching materials for blind children in Icelandic. Books had been translated, but translations did not provide the same quality content for children as originals. She developed a prototype of a book called Discover the Body in both 3D and 2D with the Belgian company Materialise. This book, which teaches students about the human body, has generated global interest.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison uses the Sinterstation 2500 3D printer for a variety of educational purposes. Yeaji Kim, a blind student at the School of Music, saw the opportunity to use this machine to print musical scores. The main problem for blind or visually impaired music students is that Braille scores often fail to convey the complexity of traditional sheet music. University of Wisconsin graduate student William Aquite decided to collaborate with Kim to help her transform music education’s accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Finally, schools are using 3D printing technology to create yearbooks for the blind and visually impaired. TechMind, a Mexican startup company, developed such yearbooks for students at the Blind Children’s School of Guadalajara. The creators scanned the children’s and teacher’s faces in order to make a 3D printed figurine of each individual with his/her name written in Braille. A South Korean school completed a similar project last December.
Halla Sigridur Margretardottir Haugen mentions other possible applications for 3D printing and education for the blind including 3D printed replications of art exhibits and more detailed maps. The 3D printing industry is developing quickly and there is no doubt that its applications will make education increasingly accessible for persons with disabilities in the future.